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Topics in African-American Literature

ENGL 281.402

What is a black masterpiece? Beginning with the great African cultures of the Yoruba and Timbuktu, we will trace black artistic forms from the Middle Passage to the slave quarters and from emancipation to the present day. Rather than considering Malcolm X or Toni Morrison in terms of the European traditions of the autobiography or the novel, we will look at their work in relation to what James Baldwin called "the long black line"-- a continuous, though ever evolving, tradition moving from the ring shout to Miles Davis'jazz improvisations to the Roots' contemporary rap lyrics.

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